Novak Djokovic has announced he will not play for the rest of the 2017 season because of an elbow injury.
It means the 30-year-old will miss the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, an event he has won twice.
World number four Djokovic was forced to retire midway through his Wimbledon quarter-final with Tomas Berdych earlier this month because of the problem.
After the match, Djokovic said he had been feeling pain in his right elbow for over a year and half and the 12-time major champion had now decided to take the rest of the year off.
“I have made the decision to not play any tournaments for the rest of the 2017 season,” Djokovic said. “Unfortunately this is the decision that had to be made at this moment. Wimbledon was the toughest tournament for me in terms of feeling the pain that has escalated.
“I have consulted many of the doctors and specialists and various people from both ends of the medicine (profession) in the last 12 to 15 months, and especially the last couple of months when I felt the injury was getting worse.
“They all agree I need rest, I need time. This is one of those injuries where nothing can really help instantly. You have to allow natural rehabilitation to take its course.”
Missing the US Open next month will end Djokovic’s run of 51 consecutive Grand Slam appearances but the Serb has been well below his best in the past year.
After winning four consecutive major tournaments, Djokovic has now gone past the quarter-finals only once in his last five.
He began working with eight-time major champion Andre Agassi at the French Open in May and has confirmed the American will stay on his coaching team when he returns in 2018.
“I am looking forward to be honest to building my body, my game and my team as well. I am happy to share that Andre Agassi is committed to staying with me next year,” Djokovic said.
“I want to thank Andre for being with me this year and obviously sharing his experience and wisdom. I am looking forward to getting back on the practice courts with him and having him in the box in the big tournaments.”
Djokovic is expecting his second child with his wife Jelena within two months, and he’s choosing to look on the bright side of this injury-forced hiatus.
“I’m trying to look at everything from the positive side,” said Djokovic. “I believe that, obviously everything in life happens for a reason.
“So I’ll try to use this time as best as I can to spend quality time with my family. In about a month, a month and a half’s time, hopefully Jelena and I, with God’s help, will become parents again.
“And obviously I will take this time to heal, to do all the different suggested methods of rehabilitation and healing processes so I can get back on the court ASAP.
“It will take a couple of months at least without a racquet.”
Djokovic will drop a total of 3,740 points from now until the end of the year, since he won’t be able to defend his title at the Rogers Cup in Canada, nor his runner-up finish at the US Open and ATP World Tour Finals.
When he returns at the start of 2018, he will most likely be ranked outside the top-10 and potentially out of the top-15, depending on other players’ results. The last time Djokovic was ranked outside the top-10 was in March 2007.
In a press release sent from Djokovic’s camp, the Serb said: ““We’ve been speaking regularly. Andre was with me in Toronto and he helped me find doctors, specialists in treating elbow injuries. During this short period of time.
“We’ve been getting to know each other and building trust and understanding. He supports my decision to take a break, and remains my head coach. He is going to help me get back into shape and bounce back strong after the recovery period.”
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